A wonderful day to return to the Swan Valley as restaurants and wineries are re-opening now the State government eases restrictions – and it was a no-brainer to book at one of the best of the winery restaurants in the Valley, Riverbank Estate. Especially as since our last visit they have engaged one of WA’s best chefs to take up the reins in the kitchen – Kiren Mainwaring.
And what a glorious Saturday we just experienced in the Swan Valley; sunny, blue skies – and just calling for a winery lunch.
We scored a table on the enclosed veranda looking out across the lawns to the vines to the river – socially distanced, of course!
Rebellious Rosé is one of their best wines, especially on a day like this – it has a fragrant bouquet of crushed rose petals and Turkish Delight, with a clean, crisp palate redolent of cranberries and rhubarb. Later we enjoyed a glass of their interesting Bordeaux blend with tempranillo – rich, plummy, smooth. (And do not be concerned we drank too much to drive, we did not finish the rosé – took well over half the bottle home – as you can at these winery restaurants).
As for the food – well Riverbank have long been one of our favourites and on this visit, once again, the food really entranced.
We began with a shared dish of chargrilled Fremantle octopus – a succulent, tender, smoky tentacle curling across the plate served with sour, tangy sorrel leaves and a scatter of charcoal – just beautifully done and presented.
Then cold oak smoked salmon – so flakingly tender, with a crisp and crackling skin – served on a bed of diced kohlrabi, purple cauliflower and karkalla (better known in WA as pigface); the latter coastal succulent providing an explosion of salty juice. Superb.
The next dish, smoked chicken scallopini – tender chicken cooked in crisp crumbs, on a bed of panzenella salad – a mix of fried ciabatta and a range of exceedingly juicy sliced heirloom tomatoes; A splash of sour cream brought it all together. Beautiful.
Along with these we also ordered a plate of roasted carrots, served on melted stracciatella, topped with scattered puffed wild rice and a sprinkle of za’atar – one more very captivating dish.
And we could not resist a dessert – this time warm mixed berry apple crumble with vanilla bean ice cream. A fitting end to a delightful meal.
Our return to the Valley after all these long days at home saw us as always impressed by the quality and presentation of the food – the outlook is outstanding and the waiters uniformly friendly and welcoming. This is one of the best dining places in the Valley and is a must if you are out this way.